1. You go through the ‘idea rollercoaster’.
Ok so you’ve got your theme, and your mind starts racing. Oh I could do that really cool thing I saw on Pinterest! Or I’ve always wanted to make that thing my auntie used to make! Or what if I put this and this together!!!
Then fast forward two weeks and after work, time with your family, and scrolling through the internet looking at funny pictures of dogs, you’re brain has dropped all of those ideas into its recycling bin.
Suddenly you have NO ideas. None. Zilch. Alright, I’ll go simple, you think. Then suddenly, you can’t even remember how to make a scone.
Eventually after further Pinterest scouring, you come up with something vaguely do-able at 3am the night before you need to bake.
2. Things never turn out as good as they usually do.
You’ve got a fail safe recipe – the one you make ALL THE TIME for friends and family. You can practically do it with your eyes closed. So you breeze into the kitchen on a Tuesday night, almost laughing at how easy the evening’s baking is going to be. Except it’s not. Your trusty recipe has somehow turned out, well…different. It’s just not as good as it usually is, and try all you might, you can’t work out why. You console yourself with the fact that none of the other bakers will know – it’s their first try of it. But you know. And it drives you a little bit crazy.
3. You get stares and sniffs from strangers as you make your way to ABC.
Now if you drive to ABC then you get off lightly with this one. You only have stares from strangers from the car to the bar as you struggle along with your Tupperware. Those who walk, or get the bus have it far worse.
Not only do you have to do the “keeping the box/tray as straight as a spirit level so nothing falls over” dance, you have the unenviable task of explaining the aromas coming from your Tupperware to anyone who lingers nearby for too long eg. When you stand at a zebra crossing, or despite there being LOADS of other seats, someone comes and sits next to you on the bus.
4. You stand up to tell everyone what you’ve made and forget your own name.
We’re not a scary bunch (honestly), and we’d never like anyone to feel uncomfortable, but it is important that we know who baked what. How else will we hound you for the recipe?
Public speaking isn’t loved by the majority, but our little “Hi my name is, and I made” spiel at the start of each ABC has been on the go since day 1 and is really useful for those who haven’t been before. It also provides us with some of our funniest stories from bakes that went wrong.
But even those who have been there from the start can still have a brain fart when they stand up and introduce themselves. “Hello I’m jam tart and this my Sophie. Wait, that’s not right…”
5. Worst still you forget someone else’s name and then run into them in town…
Fear not – this is not just a problem for the newbies. Because we have people who come every month, and people who come every few months, it can be hard to keep track of who’s who. So there’s nothing worse than seeing them in the supermarket, or on Union Street and waving and then thinking “oh bugger, what’s their name again?”. Especially when you know you’re going to see them in 2 week’s time…
6. The biggest decision – do two rounds, or pile ALL THE BAKES on your plate.
Now the official ABC line on this is usually to take a few runs at it. Especially if we have a lot of people attending. But then, depending on the theme, the conundrum is whether to do a savoury run, and then a sweet one and potentially miss out on something that’s already been snaffled, OR pile everything on in an ever growing patisserie Leaning Tower of Pisa, and just hope that the pesto cheese sticks don’t mix with the strawberry mousse cake.
7. Hitting the wall.
Hey it happens to the best of us. We ALL have eyes bigger than our bellies, and as much as you might think skipping your tea means you’ll have plenty of room for one of everything, there’s only so much baking one person can take in a short period of time. Don’t let that last peanut butter square be your nemesis – pack it in the Tupperware for tomorrow so you don’t feel like the greedy kid from Matilda.
8. Panicking that you haven’t listed an allergen and someone might keel over after eating your cheese puff.
We ask that everyone lists any potential allergens, but to be honest we are only interested in the biggies – nuts, shellfish etc. If you’re coeliac, well ABC might not be the most fun place for you (though we do have one gluten-intolerant member who puts up with it just for baking club.) Likewise if you’re lactose intolerant, vegetarian etc then use your common sense, or just ask the baker before ramming it down your rapidly swelling throat.
9. Creating a new baking related phrase book and realising you are amongst your people.
SQUAD GOALS. Towards the end of any ABC event you can hear some sterling phrases muttered. Some of our favourites?
– That was a challenging cheese.
– I’m cheese drunk!
– Who doesn’t love cake for breakfast?
-Don’t even get us started on soggy bottoms
10. Referring to ‘John from Baking Club’,and then feeling shocked when your friends and family don’t know who you’re talking about.
What do you mean you don’t know who I’m talking about? The man who made the Giant Jelly Baby 8 months ago. No the GREEN ONE. Idiot.
11. Forcing your friends and family to taste your bake, and hating them when they say ‘yeah, it’s alright’.
Alright? ONLY ALRIGHT? Not good enough. We want you to be over the top sycophantic – think Paul Hollywood judging ANY of Ruby’s bakes.
12. Resembling a Bake Off contestant in final week by running around your kitchen like a mad person, and gazing into your oven as if it’s the latest episode of Game of Thrones.
ABC is NOT competitive, we’re very strict on that. But that doesn’t mean that we’re not competitive with ourselves. Each month you hope your bake will be the nicest thing you’ve ever made, and you will peer into your oven and watch every millimetre rise if you have to.
13. Using the phrase “it’s much nicer straight from the oven – TRUST ME.”
It’s quite upsetting to think of all the hot food we’ve missed out on because it just wouldn’t last till ABC. RIP tasty bakes. Don’t get us wrong, we’ll still bring items which can be reheated…but we all know that none of us are going to wait till we get home to eat them.
14. You curse American measurements/ingredients.
Ah the joy of the internet. American recipe websites have some of the most creative and intriguing bakes on the go. But…corn syrup? Cake flour? And even the silly words for things we already have – eggplant? Cilantro? CAPSICUM? It’s a bloody pepper, and they know it. I blame Ina Garten. Oh and we all know that Digestives and Graham Crackers are NOT the same thing.
15. Buying random ingredients, convincing yourself you’ll use it loads, and then it goes to the back of the cupboard.
Of course I’ll use these dried lavender petals – like, all the time. (Dusts off the Marshmallow Fluff that went out of date 7 years ago).
16. Half-way-through-baking regret.
You saw a recipe online and thought it looked like a doddle. You even watched the YouTube video for heaven’s sake. But as you stand and hand-stuff your 25th olive, or try, and fail to peel another bloody chocolate decoration off your greaseproof paper, you start to wonder if nipping in by the supermarket for an emergency cake is an option…
17. Ordering two glasses of wine/cocktails because you don’t want to have to go back to the bar and miss any chat.
We all have baking FOMO (fear of missing out). Now this was more of a problem in our old venue as the bar was situated on another floor, but to be honest we’re creatures of habit, and what could be better than sitting down with a plate of delicious baking, and TWO wines?
18. Stalking the ABC Facebook page/blog for photos to make sure your bake looks good so you can share it on your own page.
You get a notification. “ABC has posted photos in the album – March’s meet”. Faster than you would swipe through Tinder, you flick through the images until there, in all its glory, is your bake. You squeal to your partner if someone likes it, or even better asks for the recipe. I mean, you’re basically famous.
19. Rocking into work with your box of leftovers the next day…and realising the journey to work has mashed it all into some strange, sweet Bubble and Squeak.
Your colleagues have moaned all week that you didn’t keep any leftovers for them when you were baking, so you decide to be a great work mate and bring in your ABC haul. Only, the journey to work has somehow made it look like some kind of hurricane has occurred in your Tupperware. In the corner of the box there’s a barely recognisable cupcake with what looks like sundried tomato smeared on top. You decide to give it to Bob from accounts anyway.
20. Telling someone about bake club and then explaining, for the millionth time to them that no, we don’t go somewhere and bake in a big kitchen. Idiot.
(BANGS HEAD OFF WALL) Have you not read any of the rest of this post? Baking is a super personal experience, whether you do a celebratory happy dance when your macarons ALL rise, or slump into a pile on the floor while emitting a strange wail as your icing runs off your cake and onto the worktop.
Do you really think we want others to see us like that? NO.